Kentucky — “I am not a creation of state/government, as such I am not within its jurisdiction.”
Those words were written by Samuel Girod in a document filed in a Kentucky federal court in June. Girod is an Amish farmer who was convicted in March of selling herbal health products that, as reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader on Friday, “were not adequately labeled as required by federal law.”
According to the government, the Amish man broke the law by growing, processing, and bringing to market his own herbal supplements without FDA approval. US News reported that Girod manufactured salves and skin treatments, one of which the FDA claims could be harmful to the skin. He also claimed one extract could help cure cancer, which the FDA disputed. In 2013, Giron ignored orders from the FDA to stop selling his products.
“I do not waive my immunity to this court,” Girod, who represented himself during the trial, told Judge Danny Reeves during his sentencing hearing early Friday morning. “I do not consent,” he added, emphasizing the fact he according to his faith, he doesn’t recognize the authority of the court — only that of his higher power.
Judge Reeves then sentenced Girod to six years in prison.
“They created a felon today out of a good, law-abiding citizen,” said Arizona sheriff and civil rights activist Richard Mack following the sentencing. Mack, along with a group of Girod supporters, had gathered outside the Kentucky courthouse Friday morning to await Judge Reeves’ ruling.
“This is a national disgrace and outrage. He is being punished for being stubborn,” Mack stated, adding that he and other activists will press President Donald Trump to issue Girod a pardon.
Samuel Girod’s “stubbornness” was also on Judge Reeves’ mind on Friday. Reeves said the Kentucky farmer brought all the trouble on himself “because he steadfastly refused to follow the law.”
Remarking on the severity of a sentence for selling simple plant-based remedies, Michael Fox, who served as a standby attorney for Girod, pointed out Friday that the punishment for this individual will be harsher than it would be for others:
“Keep in mind that Sam Girod is Amish. He does not live with electricity, phones, concrete, steel. Those are not normal; those are not natural in his life. An incarceration in a prison setting is going to be more punishment for him than a normal person.”